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AutoTrace (convert raster image to vector)


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Auto-trace is not, by any means, a criteria to determine if a design package is mature or not. Same as a serious photo retouch application is not more professional for having red eyes flash effect elimination, or some other toys.... (in the sense that I can -if I need to handle a bad photo source- do that manually more carefully)

 

I've worked in a bunch of companies as the main graphic designer, and as a part of a department, and yet to see a situation, workflow, project, even among very specific ones, where auto trace was strictly required. In the very occasional case we'd need that, we or I would just trigger PoTrace command line or use Inkscape, and then import in wherever, or use the Illustrator feature in companies where they used AI (I remember one very huge one -actually, two-  were they did not want AI at all, it was all Fireworks -heavily web oriented companies- ). If anything, auto trace needs so much post processing work that most of the times -if using the output for something serious and in vectors- it wouldn't worth it, and a seasoned designer would trace it at speed of light in comparison. Is not only the cleaning (layers of tints, isolated stuff, bad wires, slower file handling, memory size of the editing file, etc, etc, etc) , is also the optimizing (accuracy requires many nodes, which you need to simplify later), which isn't either good to be trusted to an automatic process...Tons of time, instead of doing a perfect, clean, hand traced work. Calling AD not being "mature" for not having that toy is such a stretch...with all respects, I know you say it with the best intention and constructively, to help in making it a better software.

AD, AP and APub. V1.10.6 and V2.3 Windows 10 and Windows 11. 
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10 Pro.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 pen display, Windows 11 Pro.

 

 

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I you have a good quality high-res, line-art bitmap then auto-trace works great and doesn't need much retouching. But its funny, I still think that Freehand had all the features and was one of the best vector packages ever. When it got killed by Adobe years ago, Illustrator unfortunately became the only option. Now I just hope, Designer will replace Illustrator some day. I have both but seem going back to AI (CS5) all the time.

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I agree in that: Freehand was fabulous. I too disliked that was left out (stuff happens when companies buy other companies (goodbye XSI, we miss you... :,,,S )...). Indeed, I like way more the Xara's approach to vectors illustrations than AI's (yet tho, I totally have the hang of AI, had to, when working at companies). Would have been nicer to keep FH for pure design, and do sth more in the line of Xara's (more intuitive and direct for drawing with vectors, more "artist friendly") for vectorial illustration. But I am starting to stop idealizing great apps from the past... With Deluxe Paint, I did that for a while.. Today there are some apps doing most of the stuff DP did, but not all (heck I did all the art on my own of 5 pixel art based games at a company in one year, using just PS, twelve years ago...)... And still, there's so many other convenient advantages in today's workflows and apps. (of course, the DP example only serves to speak about a very specific way of doing pixel art). I have used AI auto trace system, and yet I prefer Inkscape's implementation of PoTrace. With some deep tricks. Which weren't easy to discover), it gives me better results than AI's one ever did (or even several specialized vectorizers-only apps which I used in the past.  A problem is that Inkscape in Windows is a bit too crash-loving . Yesterday I had a huge crash with it. Luckily, it DOES make a full copy of the file (some mega pro top dog tool does not do that so properly) with the date and minute you had the crash, so, no work was lost), dunno how is that in Linux/Mac. But indeed, that's mostly a disadvantage when doing a full project -like this one very recent that I did or which am yet indeed working on- but not an issue when just importing whatever, auto tracing and exporting the traced pdf or svg (yep, Inskcape can very well be used as a helper tool, well, any app can be used this way)...You rarely have a crash in Inkscape's auto tracing, unless no clever settings are used. With simple silhouettes doesn't worth it any auto tracer, no matter the brand, though...   

 

And... question might be... Why was (still am) I using Inkscape instead of A. Designer, which i quite enjoy using? Well, Inkscape has got a really good ink brush, allowing inking in vectors very well, 100% accurate. Sadly, two big issues : No matter what you config, the RMB dialog pops every time you hit the pen's side button for undo. Seems there's no solution to this. It's quite uncomfortable and damages a lot the workflow .Also, for deleting lines, you can only select the stroke/line, or do a ctrl+a everytime you need to erase. This slows one down crazily. Still worth it for the accuracy and settings of the brush system, but I'll probably (if 1.6 works as I wish, then not just "probably") get ride of the whole Inkscape app (which is very useful, in any case, btw) and move that also to AD once 1.6 comes out. 

 

In non illustration related things (but only for the brush issues, for other reasons, AD is ABSOLUTELY lovely, already) AD serves me very, very nicely. It is a very solid app, IMO.

 

Re: using several apps even of the same kind of activity: I keep using combos of apps for literally everything, that is not necessarily bad...can be very functional. (ie, I am super fast modeling with Wings3D, detailing with Sculptris, while triggering Blender for anything like uvmapping, scene/materials building, 3D painting, rendering and animating. I have a freaking old  version of XSI Foundation, but is taking dust, Blender and the others have all I need...) . That said, is faster and more fun to be able to do it all in same app, I recon that.  PS and AI allows this, and is great for professional production.

AD, AP and APub. V1.10.6 and V2.3 Windows 10 and Windows 11. 
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10 Pro.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 pen display, Windows 11 Pro.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/28/2014 at 9:51 AM, MattP said:

Tracing will come in the future - but it will be a new 'Persona' (one of the main buttons along the top left of the window) so that it can have its own UI and tools. We have a fair few ideas for this - not just the obvious... :)  It's not coming any time soon though, I'm afraid to say...

 

I know this is a big chunk of programming, but it is also a feature that is pivotal to the usability of Affinity Designer. The above quote is from a post over three years ago. What's the status of this feature? Can we get an approximate release date at least?

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6 hours ago, Fixx said:

Pivotal? Hardly. There a several third party autotrace applications available, which work fairly good. Copying/importing those results to AD is easy.

Is still much better and convenient to do the auto trace directly in AD. Just like is possible in Adobe illustrator.

i still have not been able to find a third party autotracer as good as the one built into Adobe illustrator.

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  • Staff
8 minutes ago, AffinityAppMan said:

Yes, vector magic is not only more expensive, but it does nothing else. Only vector conversions.

With Adobe Illustrator you can create vectors and also do conversions.

 

AD really needs this feature to compete with Adobe.

 

 

 

Vector magic is cheaper than Illustrator and much better but you are correct that is does nothing else. I don't see this as a bad thing.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Image Trace feature - PLEASE

We produce a lot of large wallhanging banners - mostly all drawn up in Illustrator.

Since Adobe have gone to a subscription we have tried to move away from their apps. Although we use Affinity Designer, we use the Image Trace feature in Illustrator every day. It's one of the features that has proved invaluable in saving us time in having to manually redraw bitmap graphics.

Hope you can add this feature soon.

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On 27.07.2014 at 4:52 PM, eross21 said:

maybe I'm missing it, but is there an option to open a JPEG, or bitmap image

and trace,or convert it to a vector file for further editing? If not there should be one, it would be a great option. even if it had only a few modes like black and white, and 5 color

it would make me convince me to convert from adobe illustrator

+1

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Yes, I would love to have auto trace in Designer, it is convenient to have it within the program of course. But for some people to say they won't buy AD until Serif implements auto trace seems silly and short sighted to me.

 

For example, Vector Magic is always mentioned as an alternative and people turn up their noses, don't want to pay for the monthly cost of it at $7.95 or the one time purchase of $295. Okay, I get that but let us look at this with some perspective.

 

I recently let my Adobe CC Illustrator plan expire. I was paying $21.19 a month. Now I am using Affinity Designer, so what do I do about auto trace? Well, I can pay for the monthly plan of $7.95 for Vector Magic.

 

In the 3 years that I have owned Designer, I have paid just $40 for the program. If I had been paying for Vector Magic for the last 3 years too then the grand sum would be $326.20

 

The past 3 years I have paid out $762.84 for the Adobe CC Illustrator one app plan. 

 

So, you subtract the cost of Designer/Vector Magic from Adobe CC Illustrator and you end up with $436.64 in savings.

 

I can use Designer, have auto tracing with Vector Magic, and have an extra $436.64 in my bank account. To me that is a great solution/alternative until Serif gets auto trace implemented.

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Okay, I've already bought Affinity Photo and Designer, so there's nothing to gain from me here. But I'd really, really, like to see this feature. Sometimes, it's just plain essential. Designers who talk about the superiority of hand tracing have not, I suppose, ever tried to make a 256-color hand tracing of a large photograph. Adobe Illustrator does this amazingly well; Vector Magic well enough. And there are valid reasons for doing it — how else can you get a totally sharp, almost photorealistic image that still has a non-photo feel?

For the full-time designer, having to turn to another app for just one process may be only a minor irritation. For someone who has the occasional rush job, but spends 90% of her/his time on other things, getting the whole job done in one app is enormously better. If Serif can produce a tool 90% as good as Adobe's Live Trace, it should be in the app.

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The thing that I always like to bring up about Adobe and their auto tracing functionality is that really, it was folded into Illustrator after having been a separate app. I had Adobe Streamline back in the day and it had years of development and 4 versions. The 3D features that Illustrator has? To be able to extrude, revolve, lathe a shape? That was Adobe Dimensions that had years of development and was a separate app that had 3 versions. Adobe can take these apps and merge them into Illustrator because they have deep pockets and plenty of coders to go around. Those two features just did not appear over night, they had years of development and were able to be polished and refined before they were included into the early CS versions of Illustrator.

 

I can lean on Vector Magic, or an old copy of Illustrator CS3 that I have on a Mac Pro 2006 (Snow Leopard) for tracing. But honestly? I really want Serif to work on much more crucial things like an Offset Path function, a Blend tool, Mesh Distortions, better node editing, improved ability to cut lines with a knife,etc. Those are the 4 big things for me that are truly essential, that are way more important than auto tracing. It will differ from person to person of course.

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  • 1 month later...

This would be a convenient tool to add to Designer... unfortunately, Serif still hasn't added it (that I know of).  For everyone that wants to trace bitmap files, get Inkscape.  It's freeware that lets you trace bitmap and it does a decent job.  Still, I'd love to have the feature in Designer, so I want to add my +1 to this request.

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+1

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